Breaking My Anonymity

I read or heard something interesting about this recently.  I believe it was Bill W saying something about we should not be anonymous at meetings.  I was brought up to say only my first name at meetings, and that was the dominant culture there and then.  It still is, here and now, though I notice some people do give their first and last name.

What I heard or read about back in the day was that people needed to be able to find each other.  I guess AAs were so few and far between, they couldn’t go to a meeting and then survive on their own, alone, in between.  Where I live now there are almost constant meetings.  There is a 24 hour club house in the city, and there are buses to take people there.  There is a 24 hour answering service and a list of people who will call you if you need to talk to someone.  There are legions of people who will give someone a ride to a meeting.  There are online meetings and message boards and blogs.  There are books you can buy without leaving your chair.

No one needs to track me down from a meeting in order to get help staying sober.  I actually have a landline, but I don’t answer it, and I don’t know if it’s attached to my name or Carole’s.  So I’m thinking I don’t need to give my last name at a meeting.

I don’t hide my identify from people at the meetings, and Carole and I always invite everyone over to our house in between Christmas and New Years.  I get the acknowledgment letters from the General Service Office sent to me at my house and I file those letters in my meeting’s general binder.  So the General Service Office knows my identify as well.

My immediate family knows I’m in the program.  Two people I work with right now know.  One I’ve known for a very long time, the other got sent to mandatory treatment for a DUI, so I told her.  Through the years I’ve told other people at work who I’ve gotten close to or who seemed to need help.

At this point I pretty much wish everyone would just know without being told.  I didn’t always feel this way.  I used to hate telling people, because then when I inevitably drank again, they would know I shouldn’t be doing that.

I don’t write my name or show my face here, because I believe that’s in keeping with the Tradition.  I don’t put anything here I wouldn’t want on the local news.  I break my anonymity when I think it would be helpful, or when someone should just get to know me on that level.  It works well for me, and I hope more than anything that I’m a good example and a good ambassador for AA.

One thought on “Breaking My Anonymity

  1. Hi, I’m Jerry, a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Opinions are like noses, and certain other anatomical features, in that we all have one. One of the nicest things about AA is that we can have different opinions and still be right, as long as we stay within the guidelines of the 12 steps, 12 traditions and 12 concepts. For a time I was on a personal campaign to use my full name in meetings, I finally gave it up because no one cares. The meeting format sheet at my home group says in part “Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves by our first names only…………” When I lead I never say “first names only”. If someone wants to use there full name, it should be their choice to make. From time to time I say I’m an alcoholic and my name is Jerry; and some times I say my full name.

    The tradition, as I read it says at the level of radio, press and film. I understand the world service conference is grappling with the situation as relates to the internet. I have three email addresses, only one does not include my last name and that might in fact be an infringement of the traditions, I don’t know.

    This is a interesting topic which I will ponder further. Thank you.

    Love in Service,

    Jerry .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s